Intellectual Disability Part 2: Assessing Intellectual Functioning and Adaptive Behavior


Well-meaning professionals throughout the years have played varying roles in the use and misuse of IQ scores to either provide assistance to individuals or to pigeonhole them into learning paths for which they may be ill suited. The purpose of this course is to define “intelligence” and “adaptive behavior.” Furthermore, it seeks to detail the challenges of accurately assessing adaptive behavior and intellectual functioning, especially in measuring and interpreting IQ scores. This course is part two of three parts on this topic, all of which are based on the book Intellectual Disability: Definition, Classification, and Systems of Support from AAIDD. The ideal audience for this course includes psychologists, faculty, lawyers, physicians, service providers, special education teachers, and other disability professionals who seek information on defining, classifying, and diagnosing intellectual disability. This course contains interactive exercises and case examples that will help reinforce your learning of key concepts.


Hours: 2.75


Certificates provided by accrediting body (1 Match)

National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals

2.75 HOURS

This activity is approved for 2.75 contact hours.

Course Details

Course Code: REL-IDD-AAIDD-ID2
Hours: 2.75
Type: Online Course
Content Expiration Date: 2/28/2022
Learning Objectives:
Name the criterion for a “significant limitation in intellectual functioning.”
Describe at least three challenging issues that should be noted when trying to measure IQ.
Define the term “adaptive behavior.”

Section 1: Introduction
A. About This Course
B. Learning Objectives
Section 2: Assessment of Intellectual Functioning and Adaptive Behavior
A. Meet Andre
B. Definition and Nature of Intelligence
C. Intelligence as a Single Trait
D. Multi-Trait Hierarchical Phenomenon
E. Multiple Intelligences
F. Exercise: Testing Yourself on the Frameworks Used to Define Intelligence
G. Summary
Section 3: Limitations, Issues, and Guidelines
A. Significant Limitations in the Operational Definition of Intellectual Functioning
B. Issues and Guidelines Regarding the Measurement of Intelligence and the Interpretation of IQ Scores
C. Measurement Error
D. Test Fairness
E. The Flynn Effect
F. Comparability of Scores from Different Tests
G. Practice Effect
H. The Utility of Scores at the Extreme Ends of a Distribution
I. Extreme Scores
J. Diagnosis of ID is Protected from Extreme Scores
K. Determining a Cutoff Score
L. Evaluating the Role that an IQ Score Plays in Making a Diagnosis
M. Assessor Credentials
N. Test Selection
O. Assisting Christina
P. Summary
Section 4. Additional Assessment of Intellectual Functioning and Adaptive Behavior
A. A Definition of Adaptive Behavior
B. A Brief History of Why Adaptive Behavior is Included in the Diagnosis of ID
C. Adaptive Behavior and Standardized Measures
D. What to Consider When Assessing Adaptive Behavior
E. Summary
Section 5. Standardized Measures and Focus on Typical Performance
A. Use Standardized Measures
B. Focus on Typical Performance
C. Use Knowledgeable Respondents
D. When Standardized Assessments Cannot Be Used
E. Guidelines for When Standardized Assessments Cannot Be Used
F. Use of Standard Error of Measurement in Score Interpretation
G. Adaptive Versus Problem Behavior
H. Selection of Adaptive Behavior Measures
I. Summary
Section 6. Technical Adequacy and Standards
A. Technical Adequacy
B. Technical Standards for Adaptive Behavior Assessment Instruments
C. Appropriateness of the Measure for the Individual
D. Multi-Method Approaches to Measurement
E. Use of Self-Ratings
F. Individual’s Physical Condition and Mental Health
G. Identifying Factors that Influence Adaptive Behavior Scores
H. Guidelines for Selecting an Adaptive Behavior Scale for the Purpose of Diagnosing ID
I. Summary
Section 7. Future Considerations
A. Future Considerations
B. Exercise: Selecting the Appropriate Standardized Measure of Adaptive Behavior
C. Adele’s Adaptive Behavior Scale
D. Summary
Section 8. Conclusion
A. Summary
B. Course Contributors
C. Resources
D. References
E. Congratulations

Staff Writer: Myra Lavenue, M.A.
Myra Lavenue has 16 years of experience creating educational material for online training, classroom training, technical manuals, user’s guides, quick-start guides, job aids, posters, video scripts, and newsletters. Her primary goal when developing instructions is always to write clearly, inform the reader, and engage the reader’s interest by using a voice the reader can relate to. Her customers have included Albertina Kerr Centers, Multnomah County (Oregon), Qwest Communications, American Express, Bellcore, AT&T, Intel Corporation, LAIKA Studios, Hewlett-Packard, The Gap, ACT Inc., John Deere, Rite Aid, and more. She has a BA in Biology from the University of Chicago, and a Master’s in Communications from New York University. Disclosure: Myra Lavenue, M.A. has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Expert Reviewer: American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) stands at the forefront of defining what constitutes intellectual disability. AAIDD promotes the vision that with appropriate supports, you can enhance a person with an intellectual disability’s ability to function in society of a person with intellectual disability. Disclosure: American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Target Audience:
The target audience for this course is: entry and intermediate level Direct Support Professionals; in the following settings: Intellectual Developmental Disabilities.
Relias will be transparent in disclosing if any commercial support, sponsorship or co-providership is present prior to the learner completing the course.
Course Delivery Method and Format
Asynchronous/Online Distance Learning; please see certificate details for specifics on delivery format.
Relias has a grievance policy in place to facilitate reports of dissatisfaction. Relias will make every effort to resolve each grievance in a mutually satisfactory manner. In order to report a complaint or grievance please contact Relias.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Support by completing the web form ( or by using the chat functionality.
All courses offered by Relias, LLC are developed from a foundation of diversity, inclusiveness, and a multicultural perspective. Knowledge, values and awareness related to cultural competency are infused throughout the course content.
Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, service mark, manufacturer or otherwise does not constitute or imply any endorsement, recommendation, or favoring of, or affiliation with, Relias, LLC.
All characteristics and organizations referenced in the following training are fictional. Any resemblance to any actual organizations or persons living or dead, is purely coincidental.
To earn continuing education credit for this course you must achieve a passing score of 80% on the post-test and complete the course evaluation.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Customer Support here.